The Moonie Paper’s Reports Of Etan Thomas’ Demise Were Greatly Exaggerated

Posted in Basketball, Medical Science, Sports Journalism at 1:28 pm by

Etan Thomas (above) is recovering following his recent open heart surgery, and while the Wizards center assures fans via Real GM, “I am blessed. This entire process could have been much worse”, he’s got a bone to pick with local coverage of his health woes.

The people close to me were horrified when they opened the paper only to read a lot of unfounded, un-researched, speculative articles and statements. I believe the article in the Washington Times read, œThomas could be done. Another one in The Washington Post brought all of these different cases that had nothing to do with mine, and presented them as though they were one and the same. They wrote about the worst possible cases and scenarios they could find. Len Bias, Jason Collier, Hank Gathers (may they all rest in peace).

They just started throwing names and cases around without doing any research. They didn™t say that each case is different and although the heart is the common denominator in each case, comparing would not be intelligent to do until further details are obtained. At the time, the only details they were given were that I missed the beginning of camp to do further testing for heart irregularities. Now they took that small piece of information and turned it into these illustrious articles questioning if I will live, breath, walk, much less play ever again.

So when the people who actually do care about me open the paper, they are frightened by these mountains of poorly written, heartless, inconsiderate, writers whose only concern is to sell papers at any cost. It would be different if we were talking about the The National Enquirer, but we are not. I guess that™s the sad state of present day journalism. They don™t want little nuisances like facts to get in the way of a good story.

Baba Booey’s Cyber War To Settle The Score With Curt Schilling & Will Leitch

Posted in Baseball at 11:52 am by

As if the Sporting News’ recent hire of David Pinto wasn’t a bold enough move in the venerable journal’s (attempted) return to relevancy, Hot Shit College Student informs us TSN’s celeb-packed Strat-O-Matic tourney has longtime Howard Stern fixture/producer Gary Dell’Abate managing a 1986 Mets squad.

Presumably, we can look forward to a future competition in which Sal The Stockbroker leads the ’92 Amazins into virtual battle.

Koren HR King Compared Unfavorably To Roberto Petagine

Posted in Baseball at 9:33 am by

Despite having hit more than 400 career HR’s prior to the age of 30 — joining Sadaharu Oh and A-Rod as the only two players to have accomplished said feat, a slight dip in 2007 production for the Yomuri Giants’ Lee Seung-yeop has bought him a one-way ticket to scapegoat city.

From Donga.com (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Lee Seung-yeop (31) of Yomiuri has been declining in value as the centerpiece of his team.

On October 23, Sankei Sports and other major Japanese sports papers and magazines reported that Yomiuri is seeking to scout Kosuke Fukudome of Chunichi, who will be opting for free agency. This is the second such scouting rumor following Yomiuri’s plans to scout Alex Ramirez of Yakult.

Tsuneo Watanabe, owner of the Yomiuri Giants, plans to reinforce the team by scouting more raw talent after a disappointing season by Lee. During the Central League Championships against Chunichi, Lee had no home runs and was held scoreless. As a result, Yomiuri lost the series three games to none.

Naturally, Lee’s role as the team’s cleanup hitter is in jeopardy.

Watanabe openly criticized the foreign players of his team in front of the press.

“With the exception of Warren Cromartie, Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes, and Roberto Petagine, all our foreign players were total failures.” He added, “I plan to sign on new players that can guarantee us victories.

Might Patrick Ewing be available?

Durant Injured, Dance Dance Revolution Console Nowhere To Be Found

Posted in Basketball at 8:51 am by

A rough headline to be sure, but it beats “Pass The Dust, I Think I’m Sam Bowie”.


Sherman Damns Steinbrenner’s Lucky Sperm

Posted in Baseball at 5:26 pm by

Without even getting into the candidacies of Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly or Tony Pena, The New York Post’s Joel Sherman takes a dim view of Hank Steinbrenner’s critique of Joe Torre, wondering “who exactly would Hank Steinbrenner be if his father had not handed off his last name?”

Is Hank delusional enough to think he is now running the world’s biggest sports franchise due to his brilliance or because he won the lucky DNA contest?

Do you think Hank understands that if he is one-quarter as successful running the franchise the next 12 years that Torre was managing it the past 12 years, then he will be hailed as a baseball genius?

Hank seems like a pleasant guy who let his tongue escape him here. He probably should have just left his public comments to “thanks, Joe.”

When George Steinbrenner was his most familiar feisty self, Torre deflected the abuse of The Boss from the Yankees clubhouse making it a more popular, enticing place to work. That would roughly coincide with when Hank Steinbrenner hid on the family horse farm in Ocala, Fla., rather than work for the Yanks under his oppressive father. It is only now, with his dad diminished, that Hank suddenly has found this brave, public voice.

I’ll say this much for Hank — it’s about time somebody managed to make Jeff Wilpon look good.

Suddenly, Dane Cook Is No Longer The Lamest Fan In Red Sox Nation

Posted in Baseball, politics at 2:17 pm by

From the AP’s Jay Lindsay :

Rudy Giuliani, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, said Tuesday he’s pulling for their most hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, to win the World Series over the Colorado Rockies.

“I’m rooting for the Red Sox” the Republican presidential contender said in response to a question, sparking applause at the Boston restaurant where he was picking up a local endorsement.

“I’m an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets,” he said. “Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn’t because I’m loyal to New York.”

The former New York mayor said his declaration of temporary Red Sox loyalty was “not just because I’m here in Massachusetts.”

“In Colorado, in the next week or two, you will see, I will have the courage to tell the people of Colorado the same thing, that I am rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series.”

Henry Abbott Gets Ready For His Close Up

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 2:04 pm by

There’s some kinda True Hoop public gathering taking place tonight at Times Square’s ESPN Zone, and I’m sorry to say despite being in NYC, I’m unable to attend.  There was some, shall we say, unpleasantness, the last time I visited that establishment.  I tend to take the “theme” portion of “theme restaurant” a little too seriously, and much the way I commemorated a trip to the Fashion Cafe by inducing vomiting 3 or 4 times during my meal, apparently, my behavior at the ESPN Zone was a tad too boo-ya riffic for some of my fellow patrons.

But no worries, TH’s Henry Abbott (above, left) will be the host of tonight’s proceedings, and he sets the stage for this gala affair by asking us to consider himself as JFK…and Quentin Richardson as Nixon?  Hey, anyone besides Anthony Hopkins!

There will be video cameras there — to record this for broadcast on this here website — so I have some vague notion that I should look presentable. I remember reading once about the first-ever televised presidential debate, which was between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

TV, at that point, was an iffy medium. Probably not all that important, in the minds of some (like the Internet, I guess, today). Nixon paid the debate not much mind, and spent the whole day on the campaign trail. Kennedy, meanwhile, lingered in bed and went to great trouble to look his best.

When the debate took place, Nixon was sweaty and weird-looking, suffering from some kind of cold, and sweating generously under the lights. Kennedy, on the other hand, could not have looked more perfect if he had been made out of wax.

People who heard that debate on the radio thought Nixon won. People who saw it on television, however, were convinced that Kennedy was the better leader. And Kennedy won the election.

Lesson: you had better look good if you’re going to be on television.

Rox Blocked : Ticketing System “Under Attack”

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 1:09 pm by

From SI.com :

The Colorado Rockies planned to relaunch online sales of World Series tickets Tuesday after their first attempt was stopped by a computer-system crash the team blamed on an “external, malicious attack.”

The Rockies were forced to halt the online-only sale of tickets after about two hours Monday after 8.5 million hits overwhelmed the servers set up to take the orders.

Later, Rockies spokesman Jay Alves said the ticket sales Web site had crashed because of an attack. He offered no specifics.

Asked if the team was prepared for repeat, Alves said: “We absolutely have backup plans in place,” but he did not elaborate.

He referred questions about the attack to Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which runs the computers for the Rockies’ World Series ticket sales. Paciolan representatives did not immediately return phone messages.

While we ponder what sort of individual would go so far out of their way to damage the reputation of such a fine baseball organization, let me be the first to start a rumor the woman shown above was seen on the premises of Paciolan Inc. yesterday afternoon.

Wolff To Oakland : See Ya

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:59 pm by

From the AP :

During a speech Monday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, owner Lew Wolff (above) said the A’s will be moving out of the city after 40 years no matter what happens to a proposal to build a new stadium and 200 acre “baseball village” in Fremont.

Wolff said the team can’t succeed while sharing the same stadium with a football team.

Though the A’s earlier this year announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art baseball stadium near Fremont’s Auto Mall Parkway, they haven’t submitted a formal application to the city.

Marine Layer, responsible for a blog tracking the A’s new stadium developments, finds the time while watching a Pittsburgh Maulers / NJ Generals game on ESPN Classic to opine,

Those who have been following this for a while know that this is no fundamental change in Wolff’s stance since the Cisco Field plan was unveiled. Fremont was really the only plan in place. This time, Wolff added what amounts to a complete dismissal of Oakland as a possibility.

As the A’s close their 40th year at the Coliseum, it seems a certainty that the team will not see their 50th year there. I suppose there’s some strategic value in Wolff sending the message so bluntly, but I have to question it. What’s to be gained by going this route? It won’t make Fremont officials move faster. It won’t move the needle on regional support. And it definitely won’t win over any die-hard Oakland-firsters.

Incredibly, There’s Someone In The Bay Area Nostalgic For Norv Turner

Posted in Gridiron at 12:49 pm by

For confused serious rock fans of a certain vintage, the name Gore will always synonymous with that awesome instrumental band that once had a split LP with the Rollins Band (whoops). For other, it brings to mind the Niners’ disgruntled running back (above), who found a shoulder to cry on in the form of the SF Chronicle’s Nancy Gay.

As the 49ers’ record continues to plummet after four consecutive losses, questions about coaching and trust – specifically, the offensive play-calling – are building.

On Sunday, it was running back Frank Gore wondering aloud whether his teammates trust the play-calling of first-year offensive coordinator Jim Hostler.

“Norv Turner, he’s been doing it for a while,” said Gore, reminiscing about the good ol’ days in 2006 when he averaged 106 rushing yards per game. “Whenever he said something, we wanted to do it. Now I feel that a lot of people, when coach Hoss calls something, it gets in the back of their heads, ‘Is he calling the right play?’

A day later, coach Mike Nolan tried to downplay the deeper meaning of Gore’s concerns in the wake of a mistake-filled 33-15 road loss to the New York Giants.

“If we were winning games, I don’t believe that comment would necessarily be made,” Nolan said Monday at his news conference. “I also know that Frank, as well as many other players, (is) frustrated by the production, or lack of, in the offense.

“By no means would I have used that comment after yesterday’s game. I thought there was every effort made … and, again, I think it was an act of frustration.”

Does Gore have a point? Does Nolan sense a lack of trust in the scheme or the play-calling?

“No. What I’ve seen is, when things aren’t going well, as we’ve already talked about offensively the first five weeks, there is a confidence factor that goes with that,” Nolan said. “And some people look within themselves to make a difference. And some would like to look outside.

“All of us would like to look around. But I believe when (Gore) says that, I believe they all are looking for answers. Some people are pointing fingers and some people are trying to do it internally by themselves. And some people are doing both. But I believe that his comment was more an act of frustration than anything else.”

Much as I like Nolan (and respect his reluctance to wear a Reebok track suit in public), I’m having a hard time with the logic behind his essentially saying, “if we were unbeaten, no one would complain”.

ATHF-Hating Mayor To Drunken Sully’s : No More Shenanigans

Posted in Baseball, politics, The Law at 12:35 pm by

From the Boston Herald’s Michele McPhee :

Seventeen teenagers, most of them college students, were arraigned in front of Judge Edward Redd on disorderly conduct charges after they allegedly refused to obey orders from Boston police officers. Police wanted to clear the crowd to avoid a repeat of the melee that broke out after the Red Sox clinched the ALCS title in 2004, a tragedy that left 21-year-old Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove dead, accidentally killed by a pepper pellet fired by a cop.

Seven of yesterday™s suspects were ordered by Redd to write a œfive-page essay detailing what they have each learned from the experience of getting arrested and that they provide the court with written verification that their parents are aware that they have been arrested and charged in connection with this incident, said Suffolk District Attorney™s Office spokesman Jake Wark.

Redd also ordered that they stay away from Fenway Park for the duration of the World Series and told them their parents had to sign the essays for his approval at their next court date in November.

All told, there were 26 arrests made after the Red Sox win.

Mayor Thomas Menino (above) said he was pleased with the way police handled the crowds, despite some complaints that the cops were overzealous. Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said no complaints were logged against the cops.

œWe wanted to send a strong message that shenanigans would not be tolerated, Menino said. œWe were a lot better prepared this year than we were in 2004.

Presumably, better prepared than 2004 would indicate Meinio’s police are less likely to shoot an innocent bystander to death.

There’s no word yet on which of the essayists might be offered a contract with Page 2.

October at Wrigley Means Cubs Mailbag Time

Posted in Baseball at 12:54 am by

Hey, it™s Cubs Mailbag time again with Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat at the Cubs MLB site. Fans ask the questions and Carrie answers the questions. Me, I found this week’s questions disappointing, and Carrie’s answers include some unfortunate phrasing like œI don’t think shortstop is the ˜biggest hole™ the Cubs have and œYes, I whiffed. I’d like to think I have something to offer the average Cubs fan in the way of wisdom, so this week I’m answering Carrie’s questions myself. Like this guy’s:

Tell us the Cubs are going to hold onto Prior. He is certainly young enough to make a return from rehab and continue to be a top pitcher.
 Mark B., Cornelius, N.C.

Mark, seriously, what is it with you Prior fans? Stockholm Syndrome? The guy is a money pit. You don™t think his name isn™t on that Mitchell report needle dick list? Wake up. I’d rather see his $3.75 mil per year go to buying every one at Wrigley this season a free hot dog.

I had to laugh when you said [in the Oct. 22 Mailbag] the fact the Cubs have Aramis Ramirez at third is one of the reasons Chicago wouldn’t go after Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is decent at third, but he’s a great shortstop and that happens to be the biggest hole the Cubs have. If they don’t pursue A-Rod, it should only be because of the money he commands, not because we already have a third baseman.
– Mike L., Las Vegas

You just had to laugh at Carrie, huh? Hey, “Mike,” if that is your name, let™s just say as long as Prior and Wood are on salary, shortstop is the third biggest hole the Cubs have. Why you giving Carrie Muskat shit? She doesn™t work hard enough answering questions for the likes of you? Name me a team A-Rod can™t improve (uh, except the Yankees). Please don’t write the mailbag again.

I was wondering if there was any chance the Cubs would sign Kendall again. I read they weren’t expecting to keep him, but I think he would be a good investment because he would be able to mentor Soto and Kendall is one of the better catchers the Cubs have signed.
– Michael H., Chicago

Michael, are you 10 years old? What Hardy Boys book did you walk out of, old chum, where you think Jason Kendall wants to œmentor Soto, the guy who took his job, out of the goodness of his heart? If the Cubs make it worth his while ($$$) Kendall will stay. Otherwise, Lou doesn™t see any “Cubs swagger” in Kendall (he threw out 2 of 51 base stealers) Lou sees something more like “Cubs stagger.” Btw, mentor is a noun, please don™t use it as a verb in mailbag questions.

(Cub fan Herb G, from Anaheim, has a question for CSTB’s Cubbie Mailbag)

You whiffed on this one. Chuck W. of Highland Park, Ill., asked last week, “Who was the last Cubs manager to make the playoffs twice during his stay in Chicago?” A quick check of history on the website shows the Cubbies won NL pennants in ’32, ’35 and ’38, all led by Jolly Cholly Grimm. Add in ’45 during his second stint, and Charlie Grimm is Chicago’s career leader in championship NL seasons. His four pennants also exceed any South Side manager as well.
 Herb G., Anaheim, Calif.

Hey Herb, whiff this: Jolly Cholly is a beloved figure in Chicago. What your letter brings up again “ just so you can show off how you Google better than Carrie M “ is that J. Chuck Grimm was the king of second place, as the Cubs haven™t won the World Series in a century. I™m sure the Grimm family really appreciates that. Sorry to be a hard ass, but you got it coming. Please don™t write into the mailbag again. Ever.

Just before the playoffs, a story circulated that as soon as the Cubs were done playing at Wrigley Field, the field would undergo a major re-do. Is this happening and if so, what is the full nature of the project, what is being done and should it be ready for Opening Day 2008?
 Tim B., Bensenville, Ill.

Groundskeeping questions, Tim? Groundskeeping? I can ask the $136 million man, Alfonso Soriano, questions on your behalf, but you want to talk groundskeeping with me? Did you happen to see the Cubs choke to the D™backs in those playoffs you mention? Sod is way down on our list of œholes to fill. A million dollars worth of MLB unchoke-kits is more in order. You should go out to Vegas with œMike, as I™m sure even he must have more going on than a guy in Bensenville with groundskeeping on his mind.

I am a Cubs fan in Japan. On Oct. 18, Hiroki Kuroda, a pitcher for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan, became a free agent. Last year, the Cubs wanted to acquire him. Do the Cubs want him this year?
– Koji K., Kanagawa, Japan

Japan? What an honor to get an e-mail from so far away. Thanks for writing in to the Cubs mailbag, Koji!



Can Someone Explain To Peyton That Jimmy Kimmel Isn’t On “MNF” Every Week?

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 2:16 pm by

The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz on a battle of The Over-Exposed Vs. The Over-Exposed.

On Thursday at the Colts facility, reporters were having their usual conversation with Manning when he casually said that “Monday Night Football” “isn’t what it used to be.” At that point, one of the pointy-headed journalists (myself included) should have asked the obvious follow-up question: “Um, why do you say that?”

I called Craig Kelley, the Colts’ spokesman, and asked if he could check with Peyton. Was Manning saying that “MNF” had lost its luster because of the proliferation of non-Sunday-afternoon games, that it was not quite the novelty we remember as kids when “MNF” was to Mondays what “Saturday Night Live” was to Saturdays? Or, was he taking a semi-veiled shot at the broadcasters, or, um, one of the broadcasters?

Kelley called back about 90 minutes later to say he talked to Manning, and all Peyton meant was that “MNF” wasn’t the novelty it used to be.

Then I stumbled across the transcripts of Manning’s Thursday teleconference with Jacksonville’s media, during which he was asked about watching his brother Eli play the previous Monday night against Atlanta.

“I enjoyed watching (Eli) play on Monday night because I got a chance to see him play live on TV, and being able to watch the game in mute,” Peyton said. “Because it’s an easier way to watch the game than hear some of those broadcasters.”

“Yeah, it’s probably me,” Tony Kornheiser said by phone Saturday, moments before walking into production meetings with Manning and the rest of the Colts. “I’m sure it was the heads-on-sticks segment I did before the game. You think that upset him? Really? I thought it was very funny. I think most people thought it was hysterical. That wasn’t me saying those funny, mean things about Peyton. That was Eli. That’s the whole idea behind heads-on-sticks.”

Dear Mr. Torre, Thank You, But That Position Has Already Been Filled …

Posted in Baseball at 11:20 am by

(La Russa signals to a certain “New York organization” that he’s staying in St. Louis.)

Wow, nothing motivates a guy to make up his mind to stay on the job when there’s someone else “suddenly available.” The AP’s Jim Salter reports that Tony La Russa returns for a 13th Season as ‘Tards manager, and The Sporting News curiously headlines its story that La Genius is taking a three-year deal but then notes, on the authority of an unnamed source, “The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made, did not know details of the contract. An afternoon news conference was scheduled at Busch Stadium.”

Tony La Russa will return for his 13th season as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals after a difficult year in which his team failed to play .500 ball, a team official told The Associated Press on Monday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made, did not know details of the contract. An afternoon news conference was scheduled at Busch Stadium.

The 63-year-old La Russa had weighed leaving after a trying season in which the defending World Series champions finished 78-84.

The year got off to a rocky start before the season even began when La Russa was arrested for drunken driving in March near the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla. Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock died in May after a drunken-driving accident, and several players were lost for long stretches of the season because injuries, including Chris Carpenter, the staff ace who pitched only in the season-opener.

Speculation that La Russa would leave was fueled further when the Cardinals fired general manager Walt Jocketty this month. Jocketty and La Russa have been close since the days when both were with Oakland. The Cardinals have not hired Jocketty’s replacement.

One Hell Of A Way To Find Out Joel Skinner’s Still Alive

Posted in Baseball at 9:43 am by

(you don’t often see this kind of affection expressed in public, not without someone winning a free taco)

As scapegoats go, Cleveland’s 3rd base coach is a slightly more timely choice than Chris Benoit Paul Byrd. But make no mistake, despite being handicapped by baseball’s 2nd highest payroll, the effervescent presence of JD Drew and the best efforts of Eric Gagne, Boston captured their 2nd AL title in 4 seasons in impressive form. Though not quite the wild ALCS comeback of ’04, the bludgeoning of the Tribe following Manny Ramirez’ “it’s not the end of the world” remarks speaks to both the character of the ballclub…and perhaps how they shouldn’t have ever faced elimination in this series to begin with.

Though this is hardly a profound observation, it should be noted this is a period of unprecedented prosperity for Boston sports. Along with the Red Sox returning the World Series, the Patriots continue to run up the score humble the opposition on a weekly basis, BC sits at no. 2 in the BCS standings, Foxboro’s MLS entry are back in the playoffs, and apparently the local basketball squad has added an OK player or two.

In short, if there’s anyone out there having a shittier Monday morning than Joel Skinner, Paul Byrd or Eric Wedge, it’s Jeremy Jacobs.

The Pseudo Snake’s Return To The Competitive Arena

Posted in Gridiron at 3:02 am by

How can any aspiring sports journalist not envy the Arizona Republic’s Bob Young, who landed the plum assignment of catching up with former Cardinals/Broncos QB Jake Plummer, who participated in The Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball. “I’ll be playing until I die” promised the Pseudo Snake, a pledge most football fans pray he keeps.

The Buccaneers still hold Plummer’s rights, but he sure doesn’t seem like he has a change of heart is in his future.

“There are so many tournaments around, you can pretty much play every weekend,” he said.

Still bearded and wearing a sock as a headband, Plummer teamed with Eric, 35, in the Pro Doubles division at the U.S. Open.

They were beaten 21-7, 21-10 in the first round of the single-elimination tournament by the second-seeded team of John Bike and Danny Bell.

“He’s actually doing very well as a player,” said Jeff Gryknewich, marketing director for the Tucson-based U.S. Handball Association. “This was his first really big tournament match, and they were competitive. He actually shows a lot of potential. And we’ve had national champions in their 30s and 40s, so he’s still young in this sport.

Plummer said he also hopes that lending his name to the sport will expose kids to it and grow the game. That’s why he agreed to do an interview – on handball.

“I don’t recall reading too many articles about handball in many papers,” he said. “There are a lot of really good handball players who have put a lot more into the sport than I have, but I think they appreciate that I’m lending my name to it and playing.

“Maybe some kids will look at it and say, ‘Jake Plummer played football, and now he’s playing handball. That’s pretty cool.’ That’s what I’m hoping.”

Indeed, with possible exceptions of Dale Murphy, what professional sportsman, active or retired, wields the same sort of influence amongst children?


Because None Of Jake Westbrook’s Ex Girlfriends Would Take The Gig

Posted in Baseball at 6:44 pm by

Congrats to Al Barr.  From the Bruisers’ “Intimidation”…to sharing a big stage (sort of) with a much beloved Bruce Springsteen tribute act. From the Portland Press Herald :

The Boston Red Sox are one win away from a World Series berth and they are bringing all their positive mojo in for Game 7, starting with Kevin Millar. Millar, the former Cowboy-up, cheerleading first baseman for the Sox is going to throw out the first pitch.

The Dropkick Murphys are singing the National Anthem.

Qadry Ismail Missed His True Calling

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 6:28 pm by

Not to take anything away from yet another clinical display by Tom Brady — and a pair of TD grabs by Randy Moss that were nothing short of spectacular — but ESPN’s Ismail could be the missing piece of the puzzle for “America’s Most Smartest Model”.

ATL Celebrates Pit Bull Awareness Day

Posted in Dogs at 12:09 pm by

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Bill Sanders on one group’s efforts to disassociate themselves from the stigma of Michael Vick.  Not the Falcons, either.

Saturday, at Atlanta’s Central Park, two pit bulls and dozens of pit bull owners gathered for the first Pit Bull Awareness Day. Their mission: to dispel myths.

“These are highly misunderstood dogs,” Shari Brewer said. “Because they are popular to breed and some irresponsible owners think it’s a macho thing and they encourage aggression and fighting, people think that’s what pit bulls are.

“If you isolate them, beat them and teach aggressiveness, that’s what you get. But these dogs are very people-oriented dogs by nature.”

Though this wasn’t meant to be a day for people to bring their dogs to the park, Willie Grimes couldn’t resist.

He had been given a month-old puppy he named Scarface. He brought Scarface and a ton of questions. He left with some answers and a lot of freebies.

“He was given to me as a tip,” said Grimes, who drives a tow truck. “We wanted to get information of how to train him to not be aggressive, because right now, he’s nipping at everything. I’ve only had him four days, though.”

Most folks at the park Saturday said they thought news of the Vick case has indeed made this breed of dogs a little more likable to the general public.

“It has helped in a couple of ways,” Brewer said of the attention brought to pit bulls by Michael Vick, the Falcons quarterback facing federal dogfighting charges. “Kids see that a popular sports figure can go down for something like this, they see that it is a big deal and taken seriously. And it did make the pit bull a little more sympathetic than it has been.”

Hank Steinbrenner’s Eventful Week In The Public Eye Is Not Quite Over

Posted in Baseball at 11:34 am by

Showing a knack for public relations to rival that of veteran baseball owners like Peter Angelos and the late Marge Schott, George Steinbrenner’s son, Hank (above, right), gave the New York Post’s Brad Hamilton an earful on the subject of Joe Torre.

“Where was Joe’s career in ’95 when my dad hired him?” said the new Boss. “My dad was crucified for hiring him.

“Let’s not forget what my dad did in giving him that opportunity – and the great team he was handed,”

“You can’t take credit for success when you’re going good, and then not take at least some of the blame when things change,” Steinbrenner said. “I’m sorry he feels insulted, but that was not the intent.”

“I sincerely wanted Joe to accept that offer,” said Steinbrenner, who with brother Hal has assumed day- to-day decision making for the team. “We all wanted him to accept it, probably me more than anybody else.”

“You don’t make an offer bluffing. What if he says yes?” he added. “I was hoping he’d say yes.”

Which doesn’t really address why, after 12 years of service, Torre was left to twist in the wind. Surely the Yankees were familiar enough with the manager’s merits and faults to have either made their proposal promptly, or announce they’d chosen to go in another direction.

In other news, it appears as though Larry David isn’t the only travelling businessman who has experienced difficulty charging PPV porn to his employer.

‘Game Of Shadows’ Scribes : Indians’ Byrd Was An HGH Buyer

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 10:43 am by

From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wade.

Paul Byrd (above), the veteran pitcher who has helped the Cleveland Indians reach the brink of the World Series, bought nearly $25,000 worth of human growth hormone and syringes from a Florida anti-aging clinic that was targeted by law enforcement for illegally distributing performance-enhancing drugs, business records show.

Byrd made 13 purchases from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center between August 2002 and January 2005, according to the records. During those years, he pitched for the Kansas City Royals, the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angels.

Paying with a credit card, Byrd spent $24,850 to buy more than 1,000 vials of growth hormone, an injectable prescription drug with muscle-building properties, and hundreds of syringes.

The records reviewed by The Chronicle included Byrd’s purchase and shipping orders, payment data and other information, including his birth date and Social Security number. The records were provided by a confidential news source, who said the orders were consistent with an athlete’s personal use of growth hormone.

You might recall the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center has been in the news a bit, recently, too, and it has nothing to do with Kelsey Grammer’s return to network televison.


The Strangest Eight Words in College Football

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 5:51 pm by

Stewart Mandel notes that it’s hard to get worked up about college football upsets anymore (though I’m sure that Buster Olney is just giddy in the Fenway press box).

To that I offer up the following:

Temple remained in contention for a division title in its first season in the Mid-American Conference.

Al Golden’s Owls earned its third straight win (for the first time since 1990) by beating faded MAC powerhouse Miami (No Ohio Necessary), 24-17.

Update (well, more like an afterthought): “North Dakota State tops Minnesota” is a perfectly familiar headline… just not in football.

Comedy Is Not Pretty – And Neither Was Murray Chass’ Column Today

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 4:06 pm by

How’s this for a shocker on the morning of ALCS Game 6 — not Jacoby Ellsbury supplanting Coco Crisp this evening, but the New York Times’ Murray Chass paying homage to that bane of the 2007 playoffs….Dane Cook?

There is only one postseason, there is only one October and there is only one star. His name is Dane Cook.

Major League Baseball approached him about five months ago, the 35-year-old Cook said, having noticed the way he spotlighted moments from his life year by year on his personal Web site.

When Cook™s agent, Barry Katz, negotiated his deal for the commercials, Cook told him the perks were more important than the pay.

œMajor League Baseball has hooked me up, said Cook, who grew up in Arlington, Mass. œI™ve gone to about 15 games since I™ve been in Boston. They™ve been great about getting me to games. I said I™ll basically do this for nothing if you can get me the two seats my dad and I sat in in St. Louis, and they did.

Cook referred to the tickets he bought from a scalper in Boston one night in October, and he and his father flew to St. Louis and occupied the seats behind the visiting dugout at Busch Stadium for Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. That night the Red Sox banished œ1918 from their historic lexicon.

And with that, any remaining possibility the rest of America might ever again look favorably upon the Red Sox or their fanbase — with goodwill already in short supply — has been forever extinguished.  As a cunning Red Sox hater like Chass knows all too well, it would take a thousand of the Sports Putz to equal the shut-the-fuck-up factor of one Dane Cook.

Even Brett Myers Thinks Josh Beckett Has A Chip On His Shoulder

Posted in Baseball at 3:00 pm by

Video link swiped from Peter Abraham. Can you imagine the awesome conversations that would take place during a cross-country drive with Beckett, Captain Red Ass, Brett Myers and, I dunno, David Sedaris all crammed into a VW bug?

Sacramento Solicitor Defends Your Right To A Three-Way

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 1:44 pm by

No doubt aware you can’t spell “consensual” without “sensual”, the Sacramento Bee’s Chelsea Phua covers the ugliest thing to happen to the Kings organization since the Maloof brothers asked Vince Neil to sing the National Anthem.

The Kings’ Justin Williams does not deny that he and his longtime girlfriend had sex with the woman who is accusing him of rape, but he said it was consensual, according to his lawyer.

Attorney William J. Portanova said his client, a reserve center for the Kings, has told the truth about what happened the night of Oct. 11 to everybody who asked, including the Sacramento police. So has his girlfriend, Portanova said.

“The truth is nothing happened that night that was not consensual, and we have proof of it,” Portanova said. “While some people may find it distasteful to think about it, it’s a reality of 21st-century life.”

According to law enforcement sources, the alleged victim said she met Williams and another woman at a party that night and ended up in Williams’ North Natomas home. The woman told police that she had a drink at the house and felt woozy, and that Williams and the other woman then tried to have sex with her early on the morning of Oct. 12, the sources said.

ortanova said the party started at a downtown bar, moved to another location and ended at Williams’ home.

As the party progressed, the numbers dwindled, but Portanova said those present saw things that night that supported Williams’ version of events.

“The party started at a nice bar with nice people,” Portanova said. “What happened was no surprise to anyone who was there.”